How to Fire Someone the Right Way

You’re faced with the challenge of having to fire someone.

Maybe you’ve reprimanded the employee multiple times and they’re not learning from their mistakes. It could also be that they’re not delivering the quality of work expected, or they don’t get along with the other staff.

Whatever the reason, letting someone go isn’t always a pleasant experience. But if you want to continue to grow your business, at times it will be necessary to deliver some bad news. That’s why it’s important to learn how to fire someone the right way.

How Do I Know If It’s The Right Time To Fire?

There isn’t necessarily a perfect time to fire, which is why you can end up dragging your feet even if you know it’s the right thing to do.

But if it seems like your workers keep making the same mistakes and never adjust, it may be time to let them go.

Here are a few other signs to watch out for:

  • They don’t show up to work without calling. It’s important to be empathetic and understanding of your team. But too many no call no shows can indicate a deeper problem. If you can’t count on your staff to be there when they need to be, it’s probably time to let them go.
  • They don’t handle change well. Many people tend to balk as changes in the workplace occur. But this can become a serious problem when a team member refuses to follow new protocol. It can decrease productivity and can even have legal ramifications for your business. You can’t keep employees that can’t handle change.
  • They’re argumentative. Creative thinking is important, and you want to encourage your employees to think for themselves, because that’s how you’re going to build a strong and effective team. But if someone constantly questions and criticizes you, they may not be worth the effort.
  • You’re receiving customer complaints. Everyone is on the receiving end of criticism from time to time. But if you find that your customers are constantly complaining about one of your workers, it’s time to nip the issue in the bud.

These are but a few signs it might be time to replace an employee, and there are other warning signs to look out for.

What’s The Best Way To Fire Someone?

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Again, there isn’t necessarily a “best” way to fire someone. It can be difficult no matter how you approach it.

But it’s always best to err on the side of compassion and empathy. Instead of yelling and putting down the team member, you should calmly make them aware of what’s troubling you. Let them know that you understand where they’re coming from, but that you can’t have the behavior they’re exhibiting in the company.

Here are a few tips for firing someone:

  • Communicate with HR. If you have an HR team, keep the lines of communication open with them. Unfortunately, we live in a litigious society, and if you don’t do everything by the books, you could end up with unwanted legal issues on your hand. Work with HR to determine when to have the conversation with your employee.
  • Keep it simple. Hold the conversation privately, and don’t waste any time getting to the point. Be open about why they are being terminated. The worker may become emotional and lash out at you. Do not respond in kind. Keep calm and level headed.
  • Be prepared to answer questions. Don’t just terminate the employee and turn the rest over to HR. Only do this if you aren’t sure of the answer and it’s something you haven’t thought of.
  • Be compassionate. Be willing to help them find new employment by offering a reference, especially if they are a good worker. Escort them to their desk and walk them out of the office if you think it appropriate to do so. Be human.
  • Keep it legal. Research what you can and cannot say in an exit interview. Do everything by the books. Be aware of any industry specific idiosyncrasies to firing, and don’t do anything that could make you liable. This will save you a lot of headache.

Final Thoughts

Focus on what’s right for the company.

Delivering bad news is rarely easy or fun, especially if you’re looking to let go of someone you’ve worked with for a long time. You’re essentially taking away someone’s paycheck when you let them go.

But also remember that firing isn’t just in the best interest of the business. It can also be in the best interest of the person you’re firing. They may go onto find a better fit with employment and be happier in another position.

If you’re reading this, you might be in the process of letting someone go right now. This means you’ll be looking for someone to replace them. You might be interested in checking out our guide on finding hourly employees: How to Find Hourly Employees: The Definitive Guide